Summary: A sermon on being ready to come face to face with God.
This summer I have performed two weddings, and a constant theme that ran through both for preparation was time. The closer the date became the more the couple, especially the brides, realized they had so much to do and little time to get it done.
In the end both weddings went off without too much of a hitch and they were both very beautiful ceremonies and receptions. However, the rush of those last few days was somewhat stressful for both families.
There are many other events that can be rushed the closer we get to them, such as graduation parties, anniversary parties and family reunions. All these events take a lot of planning and time to become that “perfect event”. Certainly we want these special days in our lives to be memorable for everyone involved. We want it to be a day we will never forget. But, there is a very special day coming that sometimes can elude our thoughts. It is the day we will meet our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So, knowing the great importance of this coming day, why is it not talked about that much?
Well for one we often look at that day as being far into the future. It is hard to stay at the ready all the time. For example in this country, we are all familiar with the terror threat level system. For as long as we can remember the level has been for the most part elevated. However, how many people actually take a moment to consider what “elevated” means?
Look at how we react when someone is caught planning an attack. For the most part it is in the news for a day or two. There doesn’t seem to be much reaction from people in general. However if an event were to occur, then people suddenly find themselves on high alert again for a little while.
How many of our elder members can remember their reactions in the days following Pearl Harbor? Were you on alert? Did you think the Japanese were going to invade California? However by the beginning of 1942, life here was most likely pretty much returning to the way it had been just before the fateful Sunday morning in December.
This is only one kind of a state readiness. Our minds and bodies were not designed to stay at this kind of level for long. So God designed us to settle down as it were. This is also not the kind of readiness and alertness that Jesus is talking about in Luke.
The kind of readiness He is talking about is a sense of preparedness on the way we are leading our lives. Jesus is warning all who hear Him that we cannot put off living our lives in a righteous way. The reason is we do not know what life may have in store for us. We don’t know whether we will be alive the next day so as to correct for those things we have not been righteous in or to say we are sorry for.
In fact have you ever considered how much our lives are like keeping a house clean? In fact, that very phrase about keeping your house in order is actually aimed at our lives in general.
Have you ever spent a great deal of time cleaning when you knew you were going to have special guests coming? We spend all day, scrubbing, shampooing the carpet, dusting, and vacuuming just to get the whole place clean. All the while we are grumbling about how if we could just keep it fairly reasonable it wouldn’t be such a chore to clean every time. At least this was the way it was when I was single and I had an apartment to clean.
Well God has provided us with that great cleaning in the redemptive salvation through Jesus Christ. You see if were to look back on all the things we have done in our lives, or all the unkind things we may have said to someone, you may want to tell that person your sorry, but physically it may not be possible due to death, geography, or countless other ways. However, God says “give it to me and I will forgive you”. He will clean your house, and he will show you how to keep it clean and maintained, so that when he does come for you, it will be all ready for Him.
This all relies though on our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the writer of Hebrews tells us;
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.(Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV)
We have to have faith that Jesus not only died and was resurrected, we also need to have the hope that He is returning for us. The groomsmen in the parable understood this kind of faith. They had faith in the return of their master. They wanted to be awake for him so that He knew they were watching over his household properly.